SOLT and UK Theatre’s 2017 Workforce Review indicated that the theatre industry faces a range of long-term diversity and inclusion challenges. Subsequent campaigns such as We Shall Not Be Removed from the Disability Arts Alliance and the Black Lives Matter movement returning to prominence in 2020 have highlighted the continuing prevalence of these systemic issues – many of which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These challenges include low workforce representation from some demographics, particularly disabled workers, those from ethnically diverse backgrounds, workers from a low socioeconomic background, and those with caring responsibilities. This is in part caused by high barriers to entry and retention, career progression and pay parity issues which particularly affect these groups.
UK Theatre and SOLT’s ambition is to continue to build on our workforce development work to implement a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives to nurture the future workforce and support and invest in the current workforce. Our aim is to assist the sector in removing exclusion and improving the diversity of the theatre and performing arts workforce. We will do this by stimulating debate, provoking actions, challenging outdated thinking, highlighting best practice and leading.
Our diversity and inclusion work complements the other aspects of SOLT and UK Theatre’s workforce development strategy which focuses on the industry’s working culture, and skills and training.